A hotel with a ‘steamy history’ could become our neighborhood’s latest apartment community

Photo by Christina Hughes Babb

A hotel property that police say has been a hotbed of criminal activity could become an apartment complex, but the city council would have to approve the landlord’s rezoning request first.

And the more neighbors learn about the New York-based landlords, the angrier and less supportive they become of this candidacy.

The Extended Stay America on Vantage Point near Greenville Avenue, owned by New York-based hotel equity group Three Wall Capital, has a recent past marred by drug trafficking, sex crimes and murder, police told reporters. Lake Highlands residents at a meeting Tuesday to discuss the rezoning case. In fact, two of the hotel’s former staff are in federal prison after a DEA blast that resulted in some 44 arrests, said Dallas Police Lt. Brian Payne, who oversees the Project Safe Neighborhood team. of the Northeast Division.

Detective Michael Stampley, who leads the neighborhood police team, added: “This property has a steamy history.”

For the past year, the extended-stay property has been an official misdemeanor property, subjecting it to regular inspections by the city’s community attorney’s office.

“The people staying at the property weren’t the best clientele or the best neighbors in the area,” District 10 Community Attorney Ariya Villegas said. But since the city stepped in, improvements — crash barriers, cameras and tow control — have been made.

But because it’s a hotel, tenants don’t submit to background checks or sign leases, she said. Adding those processes would be a potential benefit of the proposed zoning change that would allow the property to be converted from hotel to multifamily, said D10 council member Adam McGough.

“Theoretically, if you turn this into a multi-family and manage it appropriately, put the proper security measures in place, it’s better than it is now,” McGough said.

He added: “But I don’t feel like they’re going to do the right thing.”

Participants also expressed little confidence that landlords would do more than the bare minimum in the interest of neighborhood safety.

Lt. Payne said the owners of Extended Stay – Three Wall Capital – were unaware, misinformed by their management and therefore not guilty of the previously mentioned crimes. But McGough said he thought they should knew what was going on, and several neighbors, including the RISD school board representative, said they blamed the owners for turning a blind eye.

Zoning consultant Rob Baldwin explained that the site in question is approximately 2,881 acres with a hotel as its current use. The hotel has a total of 136 rooms on 70,828 square feet of floor space. Villegas added that the occupancy rate is only around 20%.

The site is zoned an MC-4 multiple commercial district which does not permit multi-family use. The proposed MU-3(A) mixed-use district would allow the adaptive reuse of the existing hotel building into a multi-family complex

Baldwin says the apartments would be rented at market price – around $800 to $1,100 for what he says are mostly small units, some smaller than your typical hotel room, but with kitchens and living quarters. for longer term rental. This is what housing stakeholders call natural affordable housing.

The city of Dallas, like most of the United States, faces a housing shortage for all income levels. Turning extended-stay hotels into apartments is the latest solution to the housing supply problem, according to a GlobST.com article.

“The main reason for this trend is the confluence of a strong demand for apartments, which is caused by many problems that have been spreading for years across the country, and a reduced demand for hotel units, mainly due to the pandemic,” David Reina, a partner at Morris, Manning & Martin LLP’s Hospitality Practice, told GlobeST.

McGough says that before the matter – already recommended for approval by the plan commission – appears again on the agenda of the Dallas City Council on December 14, he wants to make sure that all community players are engaged and have the opportunity to provide feedback.

The most popular suggestion at October town hall: Delay rezoning approval and have Extended Stay America owners prove they can solve their crime problem.

The zoning application is available here. The council member invites neighbors to contact his office with questions. Check out advocacymag.com to see what’s happening at the December council meeting.